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Former Alaska airman discharged for being gay to co-chair 2nd Obama inauguration

Alaska Dispatch
OutServie-SLDN photo

A former Air Force sergeant who served at Elmendorf AFB just outside Anchorage, Alaska, has been chosen as one of eight citizen co-chairs of President Obama's second inaugural.

Dave Hall was an Air Force pilot-in-training who was ultimately discharged from the military for being gay under Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT), the official U.S. policy that barred openly gay, bisexual or lesbian military service but encouraged men and women to stay in the closet and lie to the government about their sexuality.

After Hall's discharge, he became a plaintiff in the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (OutServe-SLDN) constitutional challenge to Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the legal network announced in a statement Thursday.

DADT was officially repealed in September 2011, with the support of both Alaska U.S. Sens. Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski; the policy change was among several public and policy positions by the president during his first term in support of LGBT equal rights.

"This is certainly the honor of a lifetime, and I am grateful to President Obama for his leadership in repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ so that no qualified American who wants to serve this country in uniform will ever again be denied that right simply because they are gay or lesbian," Hall said in the press release.

The eight citizen co-chairs were chosen to highlight Obama's first-term accomplishments. Other inaugural honorees include "a woman with a brain tumor who no longer is denied health care for a pre-existing condition; an autoworker who got her job back after the General Motors bailout," Politico reported Thursday.